RMBF to launch programme for PTSD and moral injury support

We are very pleased to announce that the RMBF has been awarded a £25,000 BMA Giving grant to help support doctors facing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and moral injury as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Over the past year and a half, medics working on the frontline have come face-to-face with astonishing levels of death and suffering, and it has unsurprisingly taken its toll. Research by King’s College London in 2020 showed that nearly 40% of ICU and anaesthetic staff reported symptoms consistent with a probable diagnosis of PTSD – more than double pre-pandemic levels. PTSD can also take time to present, with triggers happening years after the initial trauma.

Those who were unable to work treating patients, often because of their own health conditions, have faced separate but related challenges. On top of the mental exhaustion of shielding, there is a risk of moral injury, related to feelings of guilt due to not helping patients and their colleagues during a national crisis. Moral injury can also be caused by excessive workloads during the pandemic, when doctors feel they have not been able to give the high standard of care they naturally want to deliver.

Doctors facing these issues often need to reduce their hours or take time away from work, in order to access essential mental health treatment. Ending up on reduced sick pay, or being out of work entirely if a contract ends, can leave doctors struggling to make ends meet – adding more stress to what may already be an overwhelming situation.

In order to alleviate hardship for doctors faced with these issues, and to help address their long-term impact on the profession, the RMBF is very grateful to have secured funding from BMA Giving to support doctors in financial hardship who are specifically facing PTSD and moral injury.

Our website will host further information and support on these issues, and we will aim to raise awareness among doctors who may not recognise the signs of PTSD or moral injury, encouraging them to reach out for help.

Our thanks once again to BMA Giving for awarding this grant.